What I think Mar-y-sol was talking about was that you must register your DNS with a registrar and give them the IP(s) of ns1.domain.com and ns2.domain.com. There is a basic form to fill out with name address etc etc etc and it will want the IP for ns1.domain.com and ns2.domain.com. Those two addresses should have static IPs that dont ever change. If they do, you will need to run back to teh registrar and have them change them.
Once that propogates, the registrar (and than the rest of the net) will know that there is a name server on ns1.domain.com and ns2.domain.com
After that is done you can trasfer/register domains and set them up to point to the name servers ns1.domain.com and ns2.domain.com. You can also opt to use the registrar's servers as a backup. They usually charge a small fee for this.
Now that the domain is registered and pointing to your name server, you must use Plesk (or SSH in) to tell your name servers where the domains you just regestered are on your server. Some will have their own IPs while others may be name based. In either case,, by using Plesk to manage the domains, you are telling the name servers you are running where on the server all the sites are located.
If you're new to dedicated servers, DNS et al, I would highly suggest you use a third-party DNS solution like everydns.net (great service and free!) until you're comfortable with the whole thing. DNS is extremely easy to mess up if you don't know what you're doing, and you'll have plenty of other things to do with a new server.
Then in a couple months time, you can much more easily make the switch to your own DNS servers (or whatever you want).
If anyone wanders onto this thread in the future:
So I'm all set now, got lots of helpful info from the Plesk forums( e.g. ). I'm using my server as my primary DNS, and zoneedit.com as secondary DNS. Was simple enough, and seems to be working as advertised (we'll see for sure once my first ns change propigates).
The gist of my initial question was, in your parlance, "which Manual to F'ing Read?"... the 1000+page O'Reilly DNS/BIND book? The RFCs on DNS? A FAQ somewhere?
In the end, I got the answers I needed from a combination of a couple basic sites on DNS, the Plesk Manual, the Plesk Forum, all of which were offered by helpful folks here in this very thread, and got me right on track with what I needed to know. As I get more involved, I also know where to look for more answers.
I've been a coder long enough to know the various approaches to learning new technology, and its often very helpful to ask for advice on resources, which I did. I'm also used to people who like feeling superior about their particular speciality with snarky "RTFM" or "man foo" responses (I've been guilty of doing the same myself, FWIW). But thanks for "the best advice I'll ever receive"
The problem is that "RTFM" isn't helpful. If he had said "I have a book on DNS sitting on my desk, but I don't feel like reading it," I could understand your response. But as he said, he was trying to learn what book to read. "RTFM" is usually construed as "Get a clue and do something for yourself!" and isn't in any way helpful or friendly.
Someone asked about a place that offers secondary DNS and a backup mailserver. I found http://easydns.com mentioned the other day. I haven't used them myself, so I can't comment on quality (or on price), but it might be worth looking at, I believe they offer both services. On a side note, if you know other people who run a dedicated server (preferably in a different data center), you could try to setup an agreement whereby you host secondary DNS and backup mail for each other or something. (Is this common practice?)
I believe the reason that you're not supposed to run secondary DNS on the same machine is that... Well, secondary DNS is "secondary" -- if the primary is down. So if you host 'em on the same machine, both primary and secondary would be down. However, if you only have one machine, I suppose it doesn't matter -- even if secondary DNS was hosted elsewhere, they'll get an IP of a computer that's down. If you plan on adding more computers, you might want to look at multiple DNS machines, but otherwise, it's probably not a big deal.
I guess that since you already have DNS setup, my advice isn't as helpful... But if you want ternary DNS or something
Most don't realize -- or they know the expense involved and it's not in the budget -- but the secondary IP is supposed to point to another Server which mirrors the Server using the primary IP.
What most people end up doing is setting up an account on another Server for the secondary IP address, then setup pages for contacting them or providing information updates for what is going on with the main, or primary IP Server.
Mirroring is expensive and using the above, at least provides people with a way of knowing what is going on -- and when their site will back up.
To answer you question on, "setup an agreement whereby you host secondary DNS and backup mail for each other", it is becoming known as Account swapping, and getting to be more popular these days.
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